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Reds lose to Red Sox on late blast by Cespedes

Nearly every day Reds manger Bryan Price answers a question or two about one or both of his ailing stars: Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto.

Brandon Phillips is hitting pain free and getting closer and closer to a return, or at least a rehab appearance. The word on Votto, however, remains the same. He’s going to return later than sooner. Maybe in the last week or 10 days of August, Price said, Votto could resume baseball activity.

Meanwhile, the season rolls forward, stopping for no one. The Reds lost 3-2 to the defending World Series champion and now last-place Red Sox on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park, missing an opportunity to gain ground in the crowded wild card race. Two teams ahead of Cincinnati, the Braves and Cardinals, lost.

Yoenis Cespedes, the two-time defending home run derby champion, hit a two-run home run to center in the eighth off Jonathan Broxton to put Boston on top.

Broxton’s 1.07 ERA entering the game ranked second in the National League among pitchers with at least 40 appearances. This was only the third home run he’s allowed in 43 innings.

“He’s been not just good, he’s been outstanding,” Price said. “It was a great matchup. Certainly, when you lose a game late, it hurts more than it does if we weren’t holding the lead. That being said, it doesn’t matter. The guy’s been awesome. He’s out there busting his tail. I’ve got no regrets. (Broxton) just came after him, and the kid beat him today.”

The Reds (60-59) had the lead for seven innings. Billy Hamilton and Jay Bruce walked to lead off the first and scored on singles by Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco.

Red Sox starter Joe Kelly seemed to have a long night ahead of him, but Brayan Pena grounded into a double play and the Reds’ rally in the first fizzled. The Reds put runners on in the third, fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth but didn’t score again.

“Kelly was able to do a really nice job of managing the strike zone better than he did in the first inning,” Price said. “He stayed out of the middle and did a nice job. Give him credit. He’s got good stuff. He shut us down and gave them the opportunity they took advantage of in the seventh and eighth.”

Mat Latos deserved a victory but got a no-decision. He pitched six scoreless innings before giving up a run in the seventh. He pumped his fist after striking out pinch hitter Mike Napoli to end the seventh, stranding the tying runner at second.

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